Program Staff Needs for Community Paramedicine Programs
The roles and responsibilities of community paramedics are different from those of a paramedic
responding to emergency 911 calls. Many people who work as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or
paramedics are drawn to work in high-intensity, adrenaline-producing situations. Conversely,
community paramedics are engaged in providing primary care services and helping patients live their
everyday lives. When recruiting staff, programs should ensure that candidates recognize the
difference and are committed to this new type of position.
Community paramedics can also be set up for success through clearly defined roles and
responsibilities, both in direct work with patients and knowing when to connect patients with local
services or organizations. These responsibilities will also include managing reporting requirements
needed to track patients and program activities. Reporting may be done digitally through an
electronic health record (EHR) system or through specific emergency medical service (EMS) platforms.
Most community paramedics are deeply dedicated to their
patients and their work. However, as with any position that involves direct patient care, burnout can
be a concern. Programs may consider including annual compassion fatigue training for their
community paramedics to mitigate the chance of employee turnover.
In communities without the resources to dedicate one or more staff to full-time work as a community
paramedic, some programs have switched their existing paramedics to part-time duty responding to
emergency calls in order to free up time for home visiting. However, for full-volunteer agencies or
EMS programs currently experiencing high turnover rates in their emergency response staff, a
community paramedicine program may result in additional strain on scarce resources dedicated to
emergency medical response. These programs should consider strengthening their staffing
before adding a community paramedicine function.
Seasonal volunteers and paramedics on light duty can help supplement program operations for busy
community paramedics. Additionally, having someone on staff who is responsible for coordinating
community paramedics' schedules and available to answer calls from patients will promote a successful
program since community paramedics are typically busy day to day with patient visits, follow-up, and
documentation. Programs using volunteers for these roles should ensure all team members have received
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) training on patient privacy. They should
also establish policies and protocols about patient assistance practices and personal safety.